Prodigal Magazine

Watering the Peace Lily

Editors Note: Today’s post is from Staff Writer Bethany Suckrow and is a beautiful story about the importance of God’s grace to nourish our souls.

I always go a day too long without watering it.

From my usual spot in the corner chair of my living room one evening, I looked up from my computer screen, bleary-eyed after hours of writing, and blinked at the coffee table.

There was my peace lily, slumped in a terrifying wilt, its leaves prostrate. And as my habit has become over the three months since I got it, I rushed over with my glass of water and doused the plant as though it had caught fire. I waited breathlessly, half hoping it would spring to life right then and there. It didn’t, and eventually I left it alone, frustrated with myself. When I glanced at it again the next morning, it was thriving again, stems vertical, leaves cascading gracefully as if to say,

“See? I’m fine now. Thanks for the drink.”

It’s a very forgiving plant.

My aunt insisted I take the peace lily from the abundance of botanicals given to us when my mom passed away, but I didn’t understand why.

“It’ll be good for you,” she said.

A plant? In my tiny little apartment? Good for me, how? (What about the plant’s well being?)

I took it, but I felt a little uncertain, sure that I would kill it by accidental neglect. I just didn’t trust myself to keep it alive (clearly for good reason.) In my confusing sense of “logic,” that perplexes even myself sometimes, I believed that it would be easier to care for a puppy than a plant. If the thing can’t talk or even bark, how do I know when to feed it? I do not pretend to know the subtleties of plant communication.

And yet. Three months later, I think my peace lily and I are finally starting to understand each other.

A kindredness has formed, even when I neglect it. I’ve begun to recognize the tell-tale signs of thirst as its leaves wrinkle around the edges and slowly lose their perk after a few days.

“Water me please.”

This silent conversation between us echoes the one that I have with myself often, the one I have when I’m at my wits end, when my grief is at its deepest, when nothing feels right, when my relationship with God feels lifeless.

I don’t know why, but I’ve had a lot of those moments lately. Sometimes my soul feels wilted, prostrate on the ground, starved for Grace.

I make all sorts of excuses for this – how busy I am with a full-time job, my blog, my Etsy shop, my work with Prodigal, and all the trappings of everyday life. I lose myself in it all until I am starved and desperate.

How did I let it get to this point?

I ask, and bend my knees in prayer. A last resort. A douse of water to put out the fire when things get out of control.

God is ever present, but our relationship – the one thing in my life that is rooted in peace – withers when I preoccupy myself with anything but His Grace.

It is when I make Him a priority that I realize what a little prayer can do for peace.

About The Author

Full-time writer by day, artist and blogger by night, Bethany Suckrow authors the blog She Writes and Rights, where she shares both prose and poetry related to life, faith, storytelling and creativity. She has just begun her first foray into selling her artwork through an Etsy shop, The Ripe Word . She and her musician husband Matt live in the Chicago suburbs.

  • http://inhisloveministries.blogspot.com Pilar Arsenec

    Beautiful!!

  • http://jcloveslynie.wordpress.com lyn

    Grace Grace God’s grace…just cant do without it even for a second….
    its oxygen for every moment….we need it…we just cant do without it….thank God for his amazing Grace…

  • http://clairikine.blogspot.com Claire

    Ugh, that feeling of business. Mercy!

  • http://Thechurchofnopeople.com Matt @ The Church of No People

    I have one of those. I always thought it was the whiniest plant ever. Always drooping and being melodramatic. I never think to water it until it acts like that. But I had never looked at it that way. :)

    • http://Krisirj.blogspot.com Krisi

      Matt,

      I love your persona of that poor lily!

    • http://shewritesandrights.blogspot.com bethany

      I’m with Krisi – “whiny” and “melodramatic” made me laugh… and rethink my parallel to the peace lily, because perhaps now it hits a little too close to home. Whiny and melodramatic? Me? Never… ;)

  • faith

    thanks for the reminder bethany! i go way too long- WAY too long too. work, kids, home upkeep, kids activities… too many excuses that overwhelm me every time! but once i stop- and rest and pray…He comforts me!

  • http://everydayawe.com Stephanie Spencer

    “Sometimes my soul feels wilted, prostrate on the ground, starved for Grace.”

    That is a beautiful sentence. And so true.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I love the way simple things can teach us deep lessons.

    • http://shewritesandrights.blogspot.com bethany

      Thanks, Stephanie!